Designers have often used their heritage to create impactful designs, producing products, glassware, ceramics and architecture that carry with it a personal connotation.
Here we highlight a selection of Palestinian designers and creative talents from a range of design disciplines that have contributed to the continuity and development of contemporary design, sharing their collective and individual creative and artistic viewpoints with the larger world, originating both from within their local communities, as well as the greater diaspora.
Using his roots and enduring tradition of embroidery as inspiration for his latest ceramics collection, Faissal El-Malak has, through his work as both a fashion designer and a ceramicist, showcased the many ways in which design can help preserve traditional craft. Trained at Paris’s Atelier Chardon Savard, the Dubai-based designer finds connections between fabric and clay to create pieces, such as his Spool and Corniche vases, that have helped him develop his contemporary Middle Eastern design identity by bridging traditional artisan work with modern design.
Another designer using craft to create connections is Dima Srouji, who last year curated a collection introducing the Palestinian design scene on the international platform, Adorno. With her “Here and There: A Palestinian Collection”, the designer explained that from a curatorial perspective, “this collaborative and diverse creative energy allows for intersections between local knowledge and global know-how and has placed Palestinian design alongside global productions.”
Architecture has always played a significant role in establishing a sense of place and identity. Elias and Yousef Anastas, founders of architectural practice AAU Anastas, designed “While We Wait”, a sculptural piece commissioned by London’s V&A in 2017 and exhibited as part of Dubai Design Week later that year in the OMA-designed Concrete building. “This artwork captures the duality between architecture and nature, which reaches a sort of a climax in the present times of Israeli occupation,” the architectural duo explained, describing the large, lattice-like sculpture that is now on permanent display in Bethlehem.
Founded by sisters Nisreen and Nermeen Abudail, Amman-based design studio Naqsh Collective is known for creating original, sculptural pieces, often made from strong materials such as stone and brass, which feature and celebrate traditional embroidery motifs. The duo’s contemporary design-art pieces have attracted international attention and has even led the collective to be shortlisted for the fifth edition of the prestigious Jameel Art Prize, for a piece entitled The Shawl.
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